The Peak Competition+-

project name : The Peak Competition

location : Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

year of design: 1982

client: Private Developer

architect: George Ranalli

associates: Robert Silman Structural Engineer

design team: Nick Dermand, Ed Weinberg

photographer: Model Photos: George Ranalli

Victoria Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, rising to an altitude of 1,811 feet. Its steep gradient traverses pine and bamboo forests, unfolding vistas so sharp that buildings appear to lean. The Peak, as it is locally known, is one of the most prestigious addresses in the global residential marketplace.

In 1982, a private developer sponsored the Peak Competition to elicit an architectural design for a residential complex at this prime site. Overgrown with lush local vegetation, the Peak was a breathtaking location for the owner’s complex program of time-shared apartments, owner’s houses, and club facility with dining room, library, recreational facilities, and swimming pool complex.

A winding roadway ascends to 32 granite-clad duplex townhouse-style apartments, a parking facility, large outdoor recreational plaza, and eight private residences. Orientation and materiality inspire unique features in alignment with the path of the sun as well as cascading vistas of sky, hillside, harbor, and city.

The design’s dominant mode arranges the housing along the east-west length of the property. The duplex apartments are stacked in double height, each pair marked at its northern and southern end by a sentinel like bedroom tower. Ground-floor apartments adjoin gardens of flowering hibiscus and other native vegetation and garden terraces topping second-story dwellings. Both first- and second-story apartments offer a dramatic, double-height main space and magnificent panoramas.

The townhouses’ linear pattern is repeated on the highest portion of the site for the individual houses, although these are maneuvered to accommodate requirements differing from those of the time-shared housing.

In the middle of the composition, a restorative sanctuary is defined by shared program elements that include a 2,500-square-foot piazza, airy fitness studios, a light-filled library, and an al fresco dining and concert hall. This enclave also acts as a bulwark to retain earth for an infinity pool that extends the composition into the South China Sea in the distance.

With its terraces, outbuildings, and towers, the overall design recalls the magic and mystery of building forms of eons ago.

In 2006, The Peak was built as a residential development by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., with 22 townhouse-style apartments and accompanying recreational area. The completed project attests to the old adage, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”